Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Hope Is The Thing

Hope is the thing with feathers 
That perches in the soul, 
And sings the tune without the words, 
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard; 
And sore must be the storm 
That could abash the little bird 
That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chillest land, 
And on the strangest sea; 
Yet, never, in extremity, 
It asked a crumb of me.

-Emily Dickinson

Hurricane Sandy has blown her way across the northeastern seaboard of the U.S. and is now carrying diminishing winds and a burden of snow into Canada’s eastern provinces.  She was a big girl, and an angry one, and has touched literally millions of lives. 

Whether in her path or not, we watched, transfixed, as she tantrumed her way along coasts and through cities. 

She frightened the dickens out of us.

Because the storm was so huge, and because it moved through such densely populated areas, it will be some time before a full accounting of the damage can be done.  For now, it’s enough for us to know that, in her travels through the Caribbean and through the US, she took more than 60 lives and destroyed billions of dollars worth of public and private property. 

My heart goes out to those affected, as, I’m sure, does yours.

I’m not saying anything new here, I know. 

Why, then, am I writing this?

Because when a disaster of this magnitude occurs, we become so overwhelmed by events that it’s easy to forget that there is always an element of hope. 

We humans are remarkable creatures.  We’ve survived and prospered in a large part due to the way we respond to disasters like this, for not only do we strive to rebuild but, in rebuilding, we almost always strive to make things better than they were.

Please don’t think that I’m minimizing the impact of this event:  I know it’s been catastrophic, and that millions of people are affected.  I know that things are looking awfully bleak for some of those people right now.  I know that it will take a long time and a Herculean effort to clean up the mess and begin putting things right. 

But it will happen.

When an event like this occurs, we discover our compassion for our fellow man, our determination to go on, and our optimism that things can be made better.

It’s true that it will cost years of effort and billions of dollars to put things right, but that effort also means years of meaningful employment for a great many people.  Those dollars, spent to repair and replace what the storm has damaged, will be paid in wages to workers in affected communities.  Those workers in their turn will spend their wages, and those wages spent may become the breath of life sorely needed by a choking economy.

Because we learn from events like this, engineers and scientists will be studying Sandy and the destruction she left behind her.  The new buildings, roads, and public structures that arise in the hurricane's path may well be stronger and of better design than the ones they are replacing. 

One day, folks will look back at the hurricane, and at the rebuilding time that came after it, and point with pride to their achievements.

It will happen. 

I’m holding on to the hope that thought provides. 
This post is linked to Gallery of Favorites hosted by Premeditated Leftovers and The 21st Century Housewife.

Gallery of Favorites


Terri said...

I remember the devastation here on the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina. My heart wept for those in the path of Sandy. For the many who have the means to prepare, there are millions who do not. There's so much going on in this world ... seemingly choking the life outta people. But I know, there is also much good going on around us ... if we only take the time to see (not just look). ♥

Aunt B said...

The world can, indeed, be a very hard place. It can be difficult to remember to hope sometimes, but I still believe we need to try. Change may be the only constant in our lives but, my goodness, what amazing strengths can grow out of it! Look at the thousands of people who stepped up to help after Katrina, and who continue to do so. I know that it will take time, but things will get better again.

Pamela said...

I miss you on Facebook!!!!!!!! ~~Canning Granny

Aunt B said...

Awww! Thanks. I'm following you from my personal page and still enjoy your posts.

The 21st Century Housewife© said...

This is a really beautiful post. I've always loved Emily Dickinson's poem, and it's wonderful how you have used it to raise such hopeful and issues. Finding the good in something so overwhelming is a real gift in the face of adversity.

Aunt B said...

Thank you April. That means a lot coming from such a good writer as yourself.

Alea Milham said...

This is lovely post! I have lived in hurricane country (MD, VA, and FL) and have seen the devastation first hand, but I have also seen the amazing human spirit at work to help their neighbors and rebuild the community. I have also seen truckloads of volunteers come from several states away to help complete strangers for absolutely no compensation other than a thanks. It may sound odd, but it is during times of disaster (we've also lived in LA during the Northridge Earthquake) that my faith in mankind is restored.

P.S. I absolutely love Emily Dickinson's poetry!

Aunt B said...

I'm glad you liked the post Alea and I agree, sometimes people are at the very best in the face of disaster.